By Jeremy Crabtree, ESPN:
Alabama has been the story of college football’s second season for the past three classes. The Crimson Tide landed the best recruiting class in 2014, 2013 and 2012, so it’s safe to say they’ll make headlines again in 2015. Will new coaches at Texas and USC vault the Longhorns and Trojans back into the national recruiting headlines? We take a look at the 10 teams that will dominate the Class of 2015 picture..
By Matt Scalici, al.com:
Spring football practice gets underway for Alabama this weekend and while the Crimson Tide’s 2014 roster will be taking the field for the first time together, Nick Saban and the Alabama coaching staff will also be hosting some of their top recruiting targets for the Class of 2015. Alabama will welcome one of the state’s top prospects on Saturday as Madison Academy star Kerryon Johnson confirmed to AL.com that he will be in attendance at the Tide’s spring practice session on Saturday. Johnson, a 6-foot, 185-pound athlete considered one of the country’s top athletes, has Alabama in his top three along with Auburn and Florida State and this weekend will be a big opportunity for the Crimson Tide to make their pitch to the five-star prospect. Johnson plans to make a decision sometime this spring.
By Ian Boyd, SB Nation:
Lane Kiffin couldn’t have found a softer landing spot when USC threw him off and then under the bus of his beloved Trojan program. The Alabama Crimson Tide roll into 2014 with returning starters at right tackle, guard, and center. The growth and play of center Ryan Kelly down the stretch of 2013 and the increased experience in the interior suggests Bama will feature a road-grading offensive line more similar to what it boasted in its 2012 championship run. And while stalwart quarterback AJ McCarron is gone, some stunning skill talent returns. At running back the Tide return T.J. Yeldon and the Derrick Henry, who showed terrifying potential while averaging 12.5 yards per carry in the Sugar Bowl.
By Cliff Kirkpatrick, Montgomery Advertiser:
Cyrus Kouandjio’s knee was the hot topic during a quiet pro day at Alabama. Most of the former Crimson Tide players didn’t work out Wednesday for NFL scouts. Nearly all the ones who went to the scouting combine stood on their marks from that event last month in Indianapolis. Some are still recovering from injuries. Those who weren’t invited to the combine made the most of their opportunity. As for Kouandjio, a media report came out last month’s NFL Combine that he failed his medical. If true, the offensive tackle, a projected first-round draft pick, almost certainly would fall to a lower round.
by Charlie Potter, The Crimson White:
NFL coaches and scouts filled The University of Alabama’s indoor practice facility Wednesday to observe the group of Crimson Tide football players entering the 2014 NFL Draft. The former Alabama players participated in various drills, including the 40-yard dash and bench press, during the team’s Pro Day. “This is an exciting day,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “It’s [also] a sad day in a way because you have such great relationships with a lot of these players and you hate to see them leave, and you certainly do appreciate the great job that they’ve done in representing the program while they were here. But you’re also extremely excited and happy for them to be able to have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams of playing in the National Football League.”
By JOHN ZENOR, tribtown.com:
Former Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio says his surgically repaired knee shouldn’t be a red flag for NFL teams. The potential first-round draft pick said Wednesday after the Crimson Tide’s pro day that he’s heard only from media reports that six teams didn’t clear him because of concerns over his left knee. Kouandjio said his agent, Bus Cook, called him the night of the combine asking if there was anything wrong with the knee. “I was completely confused. I said, ‘No, there’s nothing wrong with my knee,’” Kouandjio said. “I thought he was joking. But he kept asking. I was surprised. I was like, ‘There’s nothing wrong with my knee. Is there a rumor out there?’
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
Pro day is huge for the players, but it’s also a test for Alabama’s favorite cult hero. Strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran, of 60 Minutes and Howard Stern fame, is front and center as Alabama players tested their strength and conditioning. He takes this very seriously, as you’ll see in the video below.
By Alex Scarborough, ESPN:
AJ McCarron isn’t selling himself short. When asked Wednesday whether he considered himself the best quarterback in the draft, his response was simply, “Why not?” With two national championships and a slew of passing records under his belt from his three years as a starter at Alabama, he feels like the furthest thing from the second-tier prospect he’s purported to be. “The rest of those guys feel like they’re the best,” he said. “It’s a mind-set you have to carry in yourself. I feel like my play speaks for itself over the three years I started in the SEC. I definitely do.”
By Alex Sims, Bleacher Report:
With head coach Nick Saban, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and strength coach Scott Cochran manning the assembly line, the Alabama Crimson Tide have churned out countless NFL prospects in recent years, and that trend is set to continue with the 2014 draft. Last month’s NFL combine brought mixed results from former ‘Bama stars. While some prospects such as quarterback AJ McCarron and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had strong showings, others such as offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio faced issues. However, all of the powerhouse program’s draft hopefuls took the field in front of a hoard of scouts once again at the Crimson Tide pro day.